Online gaming operator 888 Holdings has announced the launch of real money games on Facebook in the United Kingdom. 888 becomes the second company to offer real money products on the Facebook platform, following Gamesys and the launch of "Bingo and Slots Friendzy" in August.
Itai Freiberger, 888 chief operating officer, said: "888 has long recognised the potential for social gaming. Our Facebook freemium offerings have found a significant audience, and we are very excited by the opportunity money gaming on Facebook provides. We are working closely with Facebook ensuring we introduce the best of both worlds of real money and social gaming."
Beginning in 2013, 888 and its subsidiary Mytopia plans to add a real-money component to its current free application, Bingo Island, on the Facebook web and mobile platform. The free application currently has around 630,000 customers per month, although only a small percentage reside in the United Kingdom.
In addition to adding real money components to existing Facebook applications, 888 plans to launch casino and slot games during the first quarter of 2013. Though the details are unclear, Social Gaming Intelligence reports that a Facebook version of the 888 poker client is currently being developed and could possibly launch as soon as 2014.
The latest gambling and social gaming partnership has signaled the start of a rapidly developing trend in the industry. With the popularity of mobile and social gaming applications, operators have begun to realize the potential to massively expand their customer base and marketing reach through these games. In addition to 888 Holdings and Gamesys offerings, social gaming giant Zynga has recently announced its intention to launch real money games and has restructured its contact with Facebook to offer such products on the platform.
Although the United Kingdom is one of the few countries that currently allows real money gaming on Facebook, the social gaming and gambling partnership has major potential in other countries that are still in the process of regulating online gambling.